Arsenal AD

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Arsenal AD
Founded1878; 143 years ago (1878)
HeadquartersKazanlak, Bulgaria
Area served
Key people
Nikolai Ibushev (President)
Air defense equipment
ED devices
Industrial machinery
Increase € 51,300,000 (2008)[1]
Number of employees
7,000[2] (2010)

JSC Arsenal AD (Bulgarian: Арсенал АД) is a Bulgarian joint-stock company based in Kazanlak, engaged primarily in the manufacture of firearms and military equipment. It is Bulgaria's oldest arms supplier.


The company's history can be traced back to 1878 with the first armory in the country - the Ruse Artillery Arsenal. Due to strategic concerns it was relocated in Sofia in 1891. After the nation's defeat in the Second Balkan War and World War I, in 1924 the company and all of its equipment were relocated in Kazanlak, a town situated in central Bulgaria. The armory was given the name Darzhavna voenna fabrika ("State Military Factory").

Initially producing only artillery gun components and ammunition, the factory later began to manufacture gas masks (1920s), nitroglycerin (1930s), machine tools (1940s) and finally assault rifles, optic sights and B-10 recoilless rifles (1950s). The first assault rifle, a direct copy of the Soviet AK-47, was produced in 1958. By the 1960s a total of seven factories were under the company's jurisdiction. Until the Fall of Communism in 1989-1990, the company was named Mashinostroitelen kombinat Fridrikh Engels ("Friedrich Engels Machinery Works") to conceal its activities as a military enterprise. As part of this strategy it adopted the manufacture of various civilian products, including automobiles such as the then-popular Bulgarrenault-8. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Arsenal began cooperation with companies from Japan, Sweden, Ukraine and Germany.

Currently Arsenal AD is a private company conducting international arms trade, although it also expands its civilian exports, now including high-precision metalworking machinery, mobile robot manipulators and synthetic diamonds.

Military production[edit]

Submachine guns[edit]

Assault rifles[edit]

  • AR-M1 / AR-M1F - improved AK-47 copy with an AK-74 front sight base, flash suppressor, black polymer stock set, luminous spots on the iron sights and a rail for mounting optics. The -F model features a folding stock. Chambered in 5.56×45mm NATO and 7.62×39mm.
  • AR-M2 / AR-M2F - improved AK-47 copy like the AR-M1/AR-M1F, but with a shortened barrel, AKS-74U front sight base and muzzle booster/flash suppressor hybrid.
  • AR-M4SF - extremely short development of the AKS-74 with red dot sight, provision to mount a night vision or laser sight. Chambered in 5.56×45mm NATO and 7.62×39mm.
  • AR-M7F - improved AK-47 copy like the AR-M1, but with an AK-101-style folding stock.
  • AR-M9 / AR-M9F - improved AK-47 copy like the AR-M1/AR-M1F, features a thumb-operable fire selector and a different style polymer stock set. AR-M9F uses a NATO length right side folding tubular stock. Unlike most AK folding variants that have left side folding stocks. The advantages a right side folder has over a left allows the optic mount to remain on the weapon when folded. Instead of having to remove the optic mount to latch the stock. The AR-M9F can still be fired from a folded position as the reciprocating charging handle clears the stock. The selector lever can also still be used since the left side incorporates the thumb selector lever on left side of grip. AR-M9F civilian base rifle counterpart in semiautomatic is the SAM7SF-84.
  • AR-1 / AR-1F - improved AK-47 copies with black polymer lining and luminous sights.
  • AR-SF - based on AKS-74U with laser aim indicator. Chambered in 5.56×45mm NATO and 7.62×39mm.

Machine guns[edit]

  • LMG/LMG-F - RPK copies in 7.62×39mm, 5.45×39mm or 5.56×45mm NATO chambering
  • Arsenal MG series - different versions of the PK machine gun, all with polymer lining and slightly higher muzzle velocity;

Grenade launchers[edit]

A Bulgarian soldier with an ATGL-L, equipped with a red dot reflex sight.

Artillery and AA guns[edit]

  • M6-210 - 60mm mortar
  • M8 - 81mm mortar
  • M82 - 82mm mortar
  • ADS - a ZU-23-2 copy with advanced sights and a computerised fire control system

Other firearms and products[edit]

  • BARR series - bolt-action hunting rifles, based on AK series;
  • SAR series - semi-automatic hunting rifles
  • HE-FRAG and flash bang grenades


  • Bullets and shells of all calibres and sorts;
  • S-5 rockets

Other products[edit]

  • Computer Numerical Control (CNC) equipment
  • Cemented Carbide Inserts
  • Cemented Carbide Tips
  • Cemented Carbide Special Tools
  • Hunting Powders "Sokol", "Mars", "Magia"
  • Nitrocellulose for Lacquer Production
  • Nitrocellulose for Dynamite Production

See also[edit]


External links[edit]